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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My First Time...at CANTEEN

A couple weeks ago I got to try CANTEEN. I was with a very good friend of mine who was in town for business. It was brilliant because we ended up dining together earlier that day at XYZ at the W Hotel. It was a bit cold and rainy so Michael and I both ordered W Burgers. They come on brioche buns and have butter braised mushrooms, d'affinois cheese and fingerling potatoes. We did substitute the fries for the fingerlings. And ordered Arnold Palmer's.

After lunch, Michael insisted on walking to his meeting. I insisted that we stop by one of my 17 mayor ships around the city. Special Xtra offered up an espresso for Michael and I stuck with a Macchiato.

Later that evening, I picked up Michael at the St Regis. We hopped a cab over to CANTEEN for their 7:30 seating. When we walked in the place, I immediately felt it's comfy atmosphere. We sat at the counter, side-by-side and took in the kitchen view. And there was "the man", Dennis Leary tasting and cooking up the evening's fare. We decided on a Pinot Noir for our wine. I ordered the Pork Shoulder Confit with prune-pepper glaze braised treviso to start. It was magnificent as expected. We also had warm, fresh baked bread and soft butter. The bread certainly reminded me of the hand crafted sandwiches I get at Leary's daytime gig, The Sentinel. For my main course, I ordered the Poussin with stewed lentils, leeks, fregola and truffle sauce. Very impressive. And for dessert, the legendary Vanilla Bean Souffle.

Michael and I couldn't stop talking about our meal when we got back to the St Regis and were in the bar having cocktails. The magic of the 20 seat room. How simple and clean everything was in it's preparation and execution. Leary makes food come alive with just the slightest hints and ingredients. I am excited to go back and see what else I can enjoy.

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